CancerGirl.

This isn’t my story.  This isn’t my fight.  But this is my blog.  And I waited until I was given permission to write and publish these words.  So for you, CancerGirl, you are an inspiration to me.

The moment is frozen in my mind.  That moment when I didn’t know what to say.

It was at one of the Boy’s football games.  CancerGirl and DynaHusband had begun coming to his games this season, to support the Boy and his efforts.  We had grown to be close friends, the Couple That Could and me and the wife…we bonded over foodie love, Disney, the Boy and randomness.  It didn’t hurt they were literally 100 steps from our house.  We love them, the Couple that Could.

I see them walking up the bleachers and I go to meet CancerGirl, only then, she wasn’t CancerGirl, she was just my friend…I asked, “so….what did the doctor say?”  As tears welled up, she could not talk and I just knew.  They had found something.

All I could muster was “you know it won’t be anything, just like me….you will twist yourself inside out for nothing…I have a good feeling, you will be okay.” She nodded, I hugged her.  I stood there, hugging her for what seemed to be forever, with tears in my eyes, saying a prayer for my friend.  For her to be okay….

About a week later, I got a text:  “Mastectomy is the word for the day.”

I replied: “Shut up.”

I reminded her that she DID want a boob lift, but this was not the way to do it.  I saw her later that day, I looked at her and said, “You get 24 hours to be sad.  After that we fucking fight!”

And I hugged her.  And DynaHusband, who looked like he had been punched and boiled.  The wife told him any time he needed a break, she had a car and knew where a bar was, they could just go.   They told us they weren’t telling many, just to not make it about a “cause” because there are always the people in your life that make YOUR cancer all about them.  This needed to be about her.  And him. Period.   Anyone else could just go pound sand.  In fact, I believe I said, “who cares?  You are fucking fighting for YOUR life…you owe no one ANYTHING!!!!”  and I still mean that.  To.my.core.

We told DynaHusband, “she will have MANY taking care of her; we need to also remember to worry about you.  You need love, prayers and our strength too. Don’t be brave by yourself.”  And we meant it.  Every word of it.

So, we get through the coming days with lots of inappropriate boob and cancer jokes (there are a LOT of them), a little sadness and lots of prayers.  In my effort to make things easier, I set up a Foodie Calendar…a way for all the people who love the Couple That Could to do SOMETHING to help; we feed them.  (If you know them, they don’t cook.  Ever.  I don’t even know why they have a kitchen!) And the amount of love and support and food that came to me for this was astounding.  People came out of the woodwork to help her, at her work, her friends, family…all of them.  Each one, telling their stories of love and support for CancerGirl.  And we kept them fed. Holy moly, that was a lot of food…from family, friends, their favorite restaurants.  Methinks I am going to start a food calendar for me.

Then it’s time.

DynaMom comes to the rescue.  EVERYONE should have a mom like this…DynaHusband’s mom…I know her name, but I can’t get it to come out of my mouth, she’s just “mom” to all of us.  So CancerGirl does the damn thing.  Double mastectomy and reconstruction.  DynaHusband calls us to let us know she’s good, she’s resting and will be home in a couple of days.

Once she’s home, we gave her a couple of hours and headed over.  Now, I will tell you, I was expecting someone who looked like they had been hit by a Mack truck….she did not look like that.  AT.ALL.  I actually asked, “are you sure you had surgery?!?!!?”  It was crazy, she looked great and was awake, in very little pain and I was impressed.  CancerGirl had turned into WarriorGirl.  We asked incessantly “can we do anything?” and only ONCE did DynaHusband ask for any help….to watch over her while he went to run some errands.  Let me tell you, she slept the whole time…easiest babysitting assignment I have ever been given.  Although, she did have control of the remote, which resulted in my being stuck watching the Cinderella remake with Brandi and Whitney Houston.  Kill.me.now.

She bounced back remarkably quickly;  we were at their favorite hangout two weeks after surgery so DynaHusband could dress up like Santa…a very pervy Santa, but she was smiling and having a good time.  It’s been the rule since this whole thing started, we have fun.  We enjoy every moment and fuck cancer!

We are there with her, through the chemo, the up days, the down days.  And we are honored to be there on the day that she claims control, that the chemo isn’t going to win.  As we sit and watch, she has her head shaved…and smiles a smile that lights the room.  I sit and watch, astounded by the sheer bravery she has to do that.  I had thought of doing so in solidarity; yet, ultimately deciding against it for a couple of reasons, (1) it’s her battle and story, (2)I have a weird freckle on my head (3)I didn’t want to answer any questions.  She had no choice….either she shaved it or watched it go down the drain.  I don’t know that I am that brave.

She has a perfect baby head.

There were to be wigs in the beginning, which lead to many pervy jokes.  Duh.  Slowly, she began to go all naturel….no wigs, just baby head and a bonnet.  As her comfort level grew, she smile shined.  It wasn’t long until we never saw a wig….to be perfectly honest, I don’t think we ever saw her IN it.  We began searching for hats for her…everywhere we go, the Wife was looking for hats…it became part of the day….hats for WarriorGirl…hats, hats, hats…hats with pom poms, hats with ears, hats with flowers…so many choices…

It became habit, when we would see each other, my hand immediately rubbed her fuzzy head, half expecting a genie to pop out and grant me three wishes…but it never happened.  *sigh*

She didn’t post anything on Facebook for the longest time.  The one time she did, I immediately texted and said, “uh, that’s on FB!” and it came down….we set her up a blog, so she could relate how she felt, what was going on and how she was coping.  That was the only written word about the fucking cancer (with the exception of the veiled FB post for those “in the know”).  Until recently.

About a month ago, WarriorGirl had her picture taken with her smile and baby head…and it was beautiful!  And just like that, the battle was public…WarriorGirl had the fucking cancer.  Only she had beaten it.  There was love, support, concern, and celebration.

In fact, when I told the Boy (who *hearts* them!) that she had posted a picture on Facebook, he wanted to see it…and his exact words were “Its about time!”  (I love the Boy….)

About two weeks ago, DynaHusband finally acknowledged what he had been through.  I can’t imagine, watching, not begin able to fight FOR HER, but to simply sit by and allow her to do this.  He’s the goods.  The example any husband should strive to be; he’s that guy…and we can see how much he loves her, just by the look in his eyes.  These two, they make me happy…watching them be a married people…gives me hope for the breeders.  He wouldn’t tell us before how hard it was, in fact, he made sure to tell us he was “okay” and “good” any time we asked.  He wouldn’t leave her side ever.  He was her chemo buddy, her nurse, her transporter, her maid and her protector.

Nowadays, the chemo is over, the head is bald and she is still smiling.  She will continue to survive…she will continue to be shiny.  She will always be a Warrior in my eyes.

To the Couple That Could, I say this…we (the wife and I) are blessed beyond any words for the friendship you give us.  We love you to from the tops of our heads to the tippy of our toes.  We are grateful and honored to have walked through this battle with you, that we are on this side of the war and we (you) are winning.  Thank you for all that you share, all that you do and all that you are to us.

Icon Dialogue.

The bestie is here…Sunday morning on the patio and we are trying to figure out a historical famous couple for her work costume party…the usuals;  Cleopatra and Antony, Bonnie and Clyde, Barbie and Ken, Kanye and Kim Kardashian…

the wife comes up with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.  It goes.like.this.

Kenner: “who’s Paul Newman?”

Me: “what?!? The actor?”

K: “don’t know him.”

M: “The Hustler?  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?”

K: “Nope.Nope.Nope”

M: “The Color of Money? The Hudsucker Proxy?”

M: “He was the voice of Doc Hudson in Cars.”

K: “Nooooo..”  {rolls eyes}

M: “He made salad dressing and popcorn…”

K: “Oh!!!  HIM!!!! yes, I know him!”

{*crickets*  as I sadly look at my wife…}

M: “I raised her wrong….”

Bossman Dialogue.

So, Jay…calling me a butt kiss, well, that’s notsonice…but I will own it.  Simply because I love my job…even on the worst days, I have a job that I like going to, with people I adore working with…and a Bossman that lets me verbally abuse him all in the name of teamwork.  Oh, Jay, calm down, you are one of the ones I enjoy working with, unbunch….teehee.

It’s been crazy lately, I have been horribly understaffed with sickness, kids with sickness, folks needing to move, doctor’s appointments and one broken ankle.  In her defense, I made her go to the doctor, in my defense, she shouldn’t wear 18 feet tall heels…she started out with just a sinus infection, ended up with screws in her ankle.  I feel bad, until she returns, I have to do her damn job.

I will never allow her to quit.  EVER.  I don’t want to do her job.  I have no choice right now and since I made her go to the doctor that resulted in ankle screws I guess I owe her, so I do it….well, part of it…the other part of her job is handled by another employee, who saw that I was having daily nervous breakdowns…my poor staff.

So lately, I’ve not been my normal bitchy self and it’s throwing Bossman off.  He seems to enjoy when I am sarcastic and smart alecky,  especially when aimed at him (don’t let him tell you otherwise…).  Lately, I am too busy and quiet…Bossman is off-balance.

Today, he sends me an email and the exchange went.like.this:

****************************************************************************

From: Bossman
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:16 PM
To: Stephanie
Subject: you have been very quiet today.

 

Bossman
Plant Manager

From: Stephanie
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:16 PM
To: Bossman
Subject: RE: you have been very quiet today.

 You can’t plan a murder out loud…

Stephanie
Office Manager
*****************************************************************************

I never heard from him again today…

Maybe my Cranberry Goji Positive Mood drink missed the mark….

Maybe I should let him off the hook…

nahhhhh, that wouldn’t be any fun…

Rules of Summer Living.

It’s that time of year…summer.  Kids wait for it all year, parents count the days until the next school year starts…so, in quiet sister/brotherhood of all parents, I submit the following rules…

(1) Yes, you can stay home.  By yourself.  No, I can’t take the summer off.  I have to work, sorta, to pay for your summer entertainment.  You will need to appreciate this time in your life….when you grow up, you too, will have to work…buckle up.

(2) No, I cannot create magnificent dishes for you to enjoy while I am working.  There is Nutella and Mac & Cheese….feel free to enjoy both.

(3) Yes, you will have chores.

(4) Yes, I understand you are on vacation….let’s consider this a “stay-cation” and pick up your room.  If I find anything on the floor, I will hold it hostage until the school year starts.

(5) No, 7:00 AM is not a bedtime.

(6) Yes, you will have a curfew.  And chores, did I mention chores?

(7) If you use every single towel in one afternoon of pool fun, you will wash, dry and fold said towels before midnight.  And suffer the wrath of Mommy Who Does the Laundry.

(8) Do not call Mommy allllllll day long at work.  I have a job, you are eating Nutella….shut up and appreciate your childhood.

(9) Do not sit in front of your Xbox all day and when I walk through the door expect me to feed you immediately, see #8 and enjoy.

(10) Every once in a while, get up from said Xbox and stretch.  If you spend the summer hunched over a gaming console, you will look like the only freshman Quasimodo.  Go outside, get some fresh air.

(11) Putting the fan in front of the window does not constitute fresh air.

(12) You will need to do the following on a daily basis:
Shower.
Brush you teeth.
Put on clean clothes.

(13)  I am sure, your horrible teachers will give you summer homework. It’s their summer “fun”.  We’re adults, we can do so… Suck it up, you will do this homework and read, so I do not have to send you to Pre-K before your freshmen year starts.  Nor will you wait until the night before school starts to cram it all in.

(14)  Do not EVER tell me you are bored.  You have Xbox, Wii, 800 cable channels, a pool, a bike, friends in the neighborhood and a park with a basketball court at the end of the street.  Telling me you are bored will get you more chores, such as cleaning baseboards and toilets.  Take your chances if you feel lucky.

(15) Have fun, stay safe.  We are proud of you….

 

Parents, I will pray for all of us this summer.  And it’s only 90 days or so until the next school year.  I am already planning a day off once school starts to recover, count.on.that!!!!

 

 

Lately.

I keep promising to get better at this, to post more…but my life continues to get in my way.  Lately, every day feels like a Monday and it’s really wearing thin.

Not much is going on in my world, I have been dealing with a boatload of stress and as much as I like to think I handle it well, I feel like I am being awfully complainy lately.  I don’t like it.  I need to stop, pull up my britches and accept the fact that I am only me, I am only human and can only do 14 things at one time…that the 15th thing is gonna have to wait.in.line.

Lately, I have been supremely insecure.  About what?  Everything….

I know I am loved, I know have many friends that love me…it’s not that…it’s that little voice in my head that tells me “you’re not worth it.  you’re not as great as everyone thinks you are.”

I immediately feel like that chick in school, I didn’t wear the “in” clothes, I didn’t go to high school parties…I wasn’t part of that crowd.  I wasn’t popular, at all.  I had my crew of friends, yet even within my friends, I felt like the outsider. I didn’t have the cool car, I had a hand me down. I wasn’t the blondest, the prettiest, the smartest or the funniest.  I had my group of friends….and they had other friends….and I wasn’t up to par.

I know, I know….shut.up.

I think many folks feel like this.  And I can sum it up in one word…inadequate.

Always have.  Prolly always will.  I will look at a picture of me and tear myself apart. Doesn’t matter what others say, it’s what that little voice says.

I have learned how to ignore the voice, how to center myself and to trust the circle of people I allow close enough.  But I often wonder…do others feel like this?  Do others wear the same armor I do?  How do others keep the voices at bay?

I use this blog to throw up my ideas.  I use Facebook and Twitter…I use sarcasm and self-depreciation.  That is my armor.  The little voice tells me “you share too much, people think you are that geek….” and I will retype, reread and edit this until I am dizzy from overthinking.

Maybe that’s IT!!!  I think too much.  Because obviously, others don’t think at all.  And they seem way more content with themselves than I do.  I will turn myself inside out to improve me.  To improve my life, my wife’s life, my children’s lives.  And others make it look so easy.  It’s infuriating!

Quite possibly, I am my own worst enemy.  I used to think it was the Respondent…but I figured out long ago, he’s harmless.  Yup…it doesn’t matter what anyone says about me…the worst is the easiest to believe.  In the times when I get my “back” up and get righteous, I will defend myself, most times on this blog…it’s mine, I can say what I want, haters be damned.

I need to continue to remember what my dad used to tell me…”shine.  just shine.  from your eyes to your smile….just shine.”

In the quiet time, as I close my eyes, the doubt creeps in.  Luckily, the wife is there…and when it’s bad, somehow she knows.  And I feel her hand on my shoulder or my arm and I realize, I am worth it.

I am human.  I am awkward, I am cool.  I am a good mom, I am a good wife.  A good daughter and good sister.  I am the best I can be and that has to be enough.

Doubt keeps me humble.  Doubt pushes me.

I can look back at my younger self…the awkward teen with the braces. My, how far I have come.  I have kept those that help shape me close.  My friends from my school years.  I count them among my dearest.  And the memories they have of me are decidedly different from what I have of me.  I know that I’m okay.

Lately, I have decided to embrace my doubt, my insecurity, my awkward.  Embracing it fuels me.  If I am who I think am, then I need to do whatever it takes to continue to be what others see.  How can I do anything else?

It’s up to me to fight.  It’s up to me to beat back the voices and realize that with age comes experience.  That brings wisdom.  I need to remember who I was, who I am and the possibility of who I can be.

I need to just shine.